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Find the best patio umbrella for your balcony or rooftop terrace with this guide

Is it summer yet? Let’s go outside! Ah, summer. The weather is warm, and your balcony beckons, offering fresh air and breezes so you can relax and relish not being inside.

But be careful of that sun! Sunscreen and a good hat can go a long way, but a quality patio umbrella shading your balcony would make enjoying the outdoors so much easier.

Balconies and rooftop terraces come in many shapes and sizes, making it difficult to find the best balcony umbrella to fit your space perfectly. So we’re here to help you out! We’ve collected our best advice and four recommendations for the best umbrella for your balcony or rooftop terrace.

Pro-tip: If you have a terrace or a garden, take a look at our blog “The best patio umbrella for your garden or terrace”.

Type and shape of your balcony or rooftop terrace

To help you find the best patio umbrella for your outdoor space, whatever you have, you need to determine the type and shape of that space. Is it small? Long? At a corner? On a high rooftop?

These may sound like nitpicky questions, but they can mean the difference between cool comfort and inconvenience or even unnecessary drama! Of course, if you like getting hit by a wayward canopy or seeing it sail off and hit your neighbor, then you can buy whatever suits your fancy. But if you just want to sit in the shade in peace, read on.

A rectangular balcony often benefits from a rectangular umbrella or a half-umbrella.

For maximum shade, we recommend a rectangular umbrella around 7x4 feet. For more sun, try a half-umbrella that you can position close to the wall.

Usually a rooftop offers more space and more options. You could get one large round or square umbrella to create a central island of shade. You can also use two round canopies to create more flexible arrangements.

We suggest either one 11-foot umbrella or two 8- to 10-foot umbrellas.

A corner terrace may have a little extra space and can therefore take a larger umbrella.

Our pick for this space would be a round umbrella between 6.5 and 9 feet or a square one between 6x6 and 9x9.

If your outdoor space is high up, make sure to factor in the wind effect and weight your umbrella accordingly.

Depending on the amount of wind, you may want a 9x9- or 10x10-foot square or a 10- to 11-foot round canopy.

Sun exposure

Do you get a lot of afternoon sun or a low evening sun? As the sun travels across the sky throughout the day, the intensity of the heat changes and your shade moves. You need to consider when you most expect to be outside to determine the best balcony umbrella for you.

As the sun moves, you’ll want to move the canopy or yourself to stay in the shade. But you may have limited space or patience for moving your entire setup every 30 minutes.

The solution? A patio umbrella with tilt and height mechanisms! Now you can control the direction of your shade. We have recommendations for those too.

Morning sun Midday sun Evening sun
Tilt and height adjustment are good to have. Tilt and height are mostly optional. Tilt and height are a must to protect you from low rays and reduce the heat of the day.

Pro tip: A half-umbrella is excellent protection from midday sun if your space is small or your setup is close to the wall. Otherwise you may prefer a standard round or square canopy.

Wind conditions

If you live near a large body of water, in a very open area or in a mountain region, you’ll want to think about the wind. Even large cities can experience special kinds of wind effects.

Pro tip: The best umbrella for your balcony or rooftop terrace will have 8 ribs instead of 6 to increase durability, stability and wind resistance.

If you live in a gusty area, this table will come in handy.

Cityscapes Mountains, hills or ocean Plains or open areas

Tall buildings create heat and channel air currents in “wind tunnels” that flow past your balcony or rooftop.

A rooftop terrace would need a 30- to 50-kg base at minimum. You may want to consider additional weight if you get strong winds.

A rectangular or corner balcony can use a 55-lb half-umbrella base or 66-lb compact base.

These areas can be unpredictable, especially with wind. We suggest extra weight or as small an umbrella as you can manage.

For a rooftop terrace, a 110-lb base would be safest. An extra sandbag or two may help as well.

Rectangular or corner balconies would benefit from a 110-lb half-umbrella base or 66-lb compact base.

In places where winds are more constant, you want to focus on choosing a stable base.

On a rooftop, consider an 88- or 110-lb base and maybe some sandbags.

For a rectangular or corner balcony, a 55- to 66-lb half-umbrella base or 66-lb compact base could work.

Pro tip: In one of the cases where less is more, we recommend a small, high-quality umbrella if you live in a windy area. A small umbrella needs less weight, and a high-quality umbrella will give you years of use instead of breaking in the first breeze of the season.

To learn more, please read our ultimate guide to umbrellas.

The best patio umbrellas for balconies and rooftop terraces

Now that you know what you need, what should you buy? We have suggestions for that, too! Please consider these a jumping-off point for your research. It’s a big Internet out there, so there may be a great choice or two out there that we might have missed. If you find such a choice, please email us at [email protected] or drop us a line in chat so we can update our guides to help more people like you!

The best umbrellas for small balconies

For a tiny balcony, part-time shade or a small budget, this umbrella is a good choice. It offers +50% UV protection, but the 5.6-oz fabric will fade fairly quickly.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • +50% UV protection
  • Tilt and height adjustments

Cons

  • Fast-fading fabric
  • Few ribs and low-quality construction

This umbrella costs more but will last longer and work more effectively. It has 7.8-oz fabric and 99% UV protection.

Pros

  • Strong fabric
  • 99% UV protection
  • Push to open
  • Tilt and height adjustments

Cons

  • High price

Need a good base for your new umbrella?

Check out Baser

The best half-umbrellas

Budget

Park Ardente

This umbrella fits nicely against the wall to shade you from midday sun. If you want to spend the bare minimum, then consider this canopy.

Pros

  • Low cost

Cons

  • Crank system
  • Fast-fading fabric
  • Few ribs and low-quality construction
  • No height or tilt adjustment

This choice has sturdy material, although it’s not top of the line, and decent construction to last a few more years.

Pros

  • 5.6-oz fabric

Cons

  • Crank system
  • High price

Want a flexible base for your balcony umbrella?

Try a Spacesaver

The best umbrellas for large terraces

A rooftop or large terrace calls for a lot of shade. This umbrella does the job at a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Tilt function

Cons

  • Low-quality fabric and construction
  • No height adjustment
  • Crank system

You can enjoy this canopy for years. Quality material and finish with well-built features.

Pros

  • Good functionality
  • Great UV protection
  • Push to open
  • Tilt and height adjustments

Cons

  • High price
  • Fabric could be better for the price

To learn more, please read our ultimate guide to umbrellas.

The best umbrellas for rectangular balconies

A rectangular balcony calls for a rectangular umbrella. (It looks square in the photo but isn’t.) This umbrella is the sure choice on the budget end.

Pros

  • Good price
  • Tilt function

Cons

  • Low-quality fabric and construction
  • No height adjustment
  • Crank system

This umbrella will take up less space when opening and is ideal for rectangular balconies.

Pros

  • Good functionality
  • Decent fabric
  • Special open and close function

Cons

  • Complicated to fix
  • No height adjustment
  • Double the price of the Bilbao
  • Crank system

A Baser Spacesaver is perfect for these choices!

Try one out

Need more help? Ask us!

If you’re still unsure about the best balcony umbrella for you, or if you want to learn more about what we offer, come take a look at our catalog or contact us directly at [email protected] or through our chat. We’d love to help you find the perfect shade for your space.